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London, UK: It has been announced that, starting in 2015 through 2017, the Grand Slam tournaments have agreed to increase their contribution to the Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF) by 25 per cent to over $2 million annually in order to assist in the development of tennis worldwide. The ITF and Grand Slam Development Fund jointly fund tennis’s Development Programme.
The letter informing the ITF of the increase in contribution, signed by all four Grand Slam Chairmen, stated: "The Grand Slams are proud to continue our longstanding commitment to tennis.”
“We want to thank the Grand Slam tournaments for their continuing generosity to the development of the sport of tennis through the Grand Slam Development Fund," said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. "Since it was founded in 1986, the Fund has contributed nearly US$42 million to provide opportunities for players to compete or to help them directly so that more nations and players will be represented in the mainstream of international competition. It is easy to see how successful this programme has been over the years with the ever-growing number of nations whose players compete at the highest levels."
"The additional funding will greatly help us expand the activities of the Grand Slam Development Fund," said Dave Miley, ITF Executive Director of Development. "The Fund will be able to help more players in more countries have a chance to achieve their goals of a professional career in tennis and we look forward to even more successful results in the future. We thank the Grand Slam tournaments for their continuing belief in and support of the programme."
The four Grand Slam Chairmen are Philip Brook (Wimbledon) Jean Gachassin (Roland Garros), Dave Haggerty (US Open) and Steve Healy (Australian Open).
About the Grand Slam® Development Fund
The Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF) was originally established in 1986 to encourage and increase competitive opportunities in developing tennis regions, including the establishment of junior and professional circuits, assisting players directly through touring teams and travel grants, and offering facility grants. With annual contributions from the four Grand Slam tournaments, the Fund has become an effective means for the International Tennis Federation to fulfil its mandate to develop competitive tennis worldwide through its affiliated National Tennis Associations. The total funding by the ITF and the Grand Slam tournaments in the Development Programme since 1986 is over $83 million.